New service N2Aos gives you the tools to easily root your Kindle Fire, and can even do it remotely if you’re not a tech-savvy user. Plus: a free recovery utility, CNET reports. N2A’s new N2Aos service will install Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) on your first- or second-generation Kindle Fire, replacing Amazon’s heavily customized — and, some would say, limited — operating system with the real deal. There are, of course, a few important considerations……Read More
Podcast Series: Innovations in Education
Explore the full series of eCampus News podcasts hosted by Kevin Hogan—created to keep you on the cutting edge of innovations in education.
Google closes the book on Reader, announces July 1 sunset
The day long feared by fans of Google Reader has come: the service will shut down, the company said, CNET reports.
“We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites,” the company said. “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.”
Google Reader lets users subscribe to and read feeds from all manner of publishers, in a format that resembles an e-mail in-box. Loved by information junkies, the nearly eight-year-old service was once among the most popular ways of tracking large numbers of news sites, blogs and other publishers. It was also an early experiment for Google in social networking, as the service’s sharing features inspired friendships and even marriages. Diehard fans of the service called themselves “sharebros,” as was detailed last year in a lengthy, definitive feature on Buzzfeed……Read More
Can green tech operate under Moore’s Law?
Doubling the performance of clean-energy technologies every 18 months, as the semiconductor industry has seen with Moore’s Law, is a tough goal to hit. But executives from General Electric and Intel say the same technical and business concepts that underpin Moore’s Law can play out in green tech, CNET reports. Green technologies are following the same type of cost curve as Moore’s Law did in semiconductors, says Steve Fludder, vice president of Ecomagination at GE. In the case of solar, higher volumes of manufacturing of silicon cells have steadily cut costs every year, while newer thin-film technologies pave the way for lower prices and jumps in performance. The same is happening in wind power, where the quality and reliability of turbines has improved as the industry has ramped up in the past decade. Now, the industry is looking at direct-drive turbines for a boost in performance, Fludder said. Organizations can save a significant amount of money by reducing the energy consumption of their data centers, which has an environmental benefit as well. But some of the biggest challenges are institutional, not technical, experts say. The technology is readily available and the economic incentive is there, but IT managers’ performance historically has not been measured based on energy consumption, said Chris Mines, senior vice president and research director at Forrester Research……Read More
HP buying Palm for $1.2 billion
Palm, the company that invented the PDA but has struggled to stay relevant in recent years, will be acquired by computing giant Hewlett-Packard for $1.2 billion, CNET reports. The deal already has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is expected to close by the end of July. For Palm, it’s a quiet end to what was once one of the most dynamic of technology companies. Spun out of the computer networking maker 3Com 10 years ago, Palm once held more than 70 percent of the then nascent handheld computing market. But several years of management struggles, product misfires, and tough competition from companies ranging from Microsoft and Research in Motion to Apple and Google have turned the innovator into an also-ran. With HP, Palm’s still well-regarded technology (particularly its new WebOS mobile operating system) finds an owner with both deep pockets and familiarity with the inner workings of Palm. Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP’s Personal Systems Group, was CEO of Palm from 2002 through 2005. “Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices,” Bradley said in a statement. “And Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team.” Early indications are that HP is interested in Palm’s Web OS and array of mobile products, ranging from tablets and netbooks to phones. Palm also brings a healthy patent portfolio, which has become increasingly important as both Microsoft and Apple have in recent months sought to enforce their own mobile technology patents……Read More
Andreessen-founded Ning cuts staff, free service
Uh-oh. Just a month after Gina Bianchini, co-founder of build-a-social-network service Ning, departed the company, it’s cutting 40 percent of its staff and axing its free, ad-supported service, CNet reports. Bianchini had co-founded Ning with Valley legend Marc Andreessen, and it had raised $119 million in venture capital, including a whopping $60 million round in early 2008 that Andreessen famously characterized as a stockpile for the “nuclear winter” that would help get it through the economic recession. Jason Rosenthal, the Ning COO who took over as CEO from Bianchini, sent an eMail memo to company staffers on April 15 that somebody forwarded to industry blog TechCrunch. He explained that Ning will be focusing on premium networks–which come with additional features and are not ad-supported–because that’s where the company’s business successes have been, thus far. “We are going to change our strategy to devote 100 percent of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity,” Rosenthal’s memo explained after detailing the success of a number of its paid networks. “We will phase out our free service. Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning.” The company’s staff reduction will take it from 167 to 98 employees……Read More
Crowdsourcing start-up aims to change the world
Set to launch in beta form on April 6, Armchair Revolutionary is a web-based social activism platform designed to harness large-scale crowdsourcing and the boom in social gaming in a bid to support a wide variety of science and technology ventures that could benefit the world at large, CNET reports. The site aims to bring people’s interest in helping support worthwhile causes and the iTunes-era simplicity of spending 99 cents on something intriguing together with innovators who need funding to get potentially world-changing projects off the ground. Built around a series of eight social activism tasks—gifting, VoIP phone calling, eMailing, uploading, downloading, voting, forms, and quizzes—Armchair Revolutionary is seen by its creators as a one-stop shop for today’s web savvy and altruistic communities to make a big difference, one small step (and a dollar) at a time……Read More
Virtual PC hole could lead to attacks, security firm says
An unpatched weakness in Microsoft’s Virtual PC could leave organizations using the virtualization software vulnerable to attack, CNET reports. An exploit writer at Core Security Technologies discovered the vulnerability in Virtual PC hypervisor and reported it to Microsoft in August 2009, Core Security said in an advisory. Microsoft said it plans to solve the problem in future updates to the vulnerable products: Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, Windows Virtual PC, and Virtual Server 2005. Microsoft Hyper-V technology is not affected by the problem, Core Security said. Virtual PC hypervisor is part of the Windows Virtual PC package, which allows customers to run multiple Windows environments on a single computer. The hypervisor is a key component of Windows 7 XP Mode, a feature designed to ease the migration to Windows 7 for customers who need to run Windows XP on the native operating system. Core Security recommends that affected users run all mission-critical Windows applications on the native hardware or use virtualization technologies that aren’t affected by the bug……Read More
Internet safety video could win young filmmakers $10,000
Computer security company Trend Micro has an offer for any teen or adult who cares about internet safety and security and wants to become an award-winning filmmaker, CNET blogger Larry Magid reports. The company has launched a contest called “What’s Your Story?” where the person who submits the best short video (no more than 2 minutes long) can win $10,000. There are also four $500 prizes. The deadline is April 30, and only residents of the U.S. and Canada who are 13 or older are eligible to win. Entries must be about one of these four topics: keeping a good reputation online, staying clear of unwanted contact, accessing legal content that is age-appropriate, or keeping the cyber-criminals out……Read More
Why no one cares about privacy anymore
Google co-founder Sergey Brin adores the company’s social network called Google Buzz, CNet reports. We know this because an engineer working five feet from Brin used Google Buzz to say so. “I just finished eating dinner with Sergey and four other Buzz engineers in one of Google’s cafes,” engineer John Costigan wrote a day after the Twitter-and-Facebook-esque service was announced. “He was particularly impressed with the smooth launch and the great media response it generated.” You might call Brin’s enthusiasm premature, especially since privacy criticisms prompted Google to make a series of quick changes a few days later. Activists have asked the Federal Trade Commission to “compel” Google to reprogram Buzz a third time to adhere to the no doubt well-informed specifications of Beltway lawyers. A class action lawsuit filed on behalf of an aggrieved second-year law student is underway. But a funny thing happened on the way to the courthouse: relatively few Google Buzz users seem to mind. Within four days of its launch, millions of people proved Brin right by using the messaging service to publish 9 million posts. A backlash to the backlash developed, with more thoughtful commentators pointing out that Google Buzz disclosed your “followers” and who you were “following” only if you had elected to publish that information publicly on your Google profile in the first place……Read More
Google launches tool for searching public data
Google is building on its partnership with the World Bank, U.S. Census Bureau, and other gatherers of statistics to present an array of data in visual form within Google Labs, CNET reports. Google Public Data Explorer went live March 8. The site takes public data regarding schools, population, crime, and other topics to construct charts and graphs that help illustrate key trends that might interest researchers. Google also is releasing a list of the top search terms that can be answered with public data, based on an analysis of anonymous search data. School comparisons and unemployment topped the list of the most frequent queries, followed by population, sales tax, and salaries. The list gives searchers an idea of the data available to them that can be manipulated into moving charts and graphs over a period of time……Read More